Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Wicklow

County Wicklow, extract from Thoms Directory 1931


Wicklow, a maritime county in the province of Leinster, is bounded on the north by county Dublin, on the east by St. George’s Channel, on the south by county Wexford and on the west by counties Carlow and Kildare. Its length from Bray, where it joins Dublin county, to the southern corner near Clonegall is 41 miles; and its breadth east to west from Wicklow Head to the boundary near Ballynure, west of Knockdarrig is 27 miles.


The name of the county is derived from its assize town. An ancient territory in counties Wicklow and Dublin was called Cualann; it comprised the Sugar Loaf Mountain, known as Slieve Cualann, and gave name to an ancient prebendal stall in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. The O’Tooles and the O’Byrnes, when driven from county Kildarre took possession of territory in this county – The O’Tooles in the territory known as Hy Mail, and the O’Byrnes in ‘O’Byrnes Country’, or in Irish ‘Crich Brannach.’ A branch of the O’Byrnes settled in the district around Glenmalur, which was called Gaval Rannall, which is still preserved in the Dublin suburb of Ranelagh. Early in the 6th century, St. Kevin founded a monastery in the Valley of Glendalough which contributed largely to the diffusion of religion and learning, and gave its name to the Diocese which has for centuries been attached to that of Dublin.


The highest point in the cluster called the Wicklow Mountains is Lugnaquilla (3,039’); south-west of it are Slievemaan (2,498’) and Lybagh (2,053’). Keadeen (2,145’) is separated from these by Ballinbarny Gap. Kippure Mountain (2,743’) is on the boundary with Dublin as also are Seefingan (2,364’), Prince William’s Seat (1,825’), Tonduff North (2,045’), Tonduff South (2,107’), and Maulin (1,869’). On the south of the Dargle river are War Hill (2,250’), Douce (2,384’) and the Little Sugar Loaf (1,120’) – this cluster ending in Bray Head (793’). In the north-west, near the boundary with county Dublin are Butter Mountain (1,469’), Dowry (1,060), Sorrel Hill (1,975’) and Bulbawn (1,190’). Separating the valleys of the rivers Liffey and Ovoco are Gravale (2,352), Buff Hill (2,964’) and Mullaghcleevaun (2,783’); near them is Moonbane (2,313’). Near Holywood village is Slievecorragh, and Slieve Gadoe is to the south of it. In the vicinity of Glendalough Lugduff, Mullacor (2,176’), Derrybawn (1,567’), Trooperstown Hill (1,408’), Camaderry (2,296’) and Tonglee (2,684’), Croghan Kinsella, is on the Wexford boundary, north-west of Coolgreany.

Bray Head, Wicklow Head and Mizen Head are the chief Headlands, and the Harbours of Arklow and Wicklow are the principal indentations of the coast.

The Ovoca River formed by the junction of the Avonmore and the Avonbeg at the beautiful place known as “The Meeting of the Waters” enters the sea at Arklow, receiving on its way the waters of the Aughrim River. As tributaries of the Avonmore, there are the Annamoe, which runs through Lough Tay and Lough Dan, Cloghoge Brook and Glenmacnass River, Glendason River and Glenealo River. The Vartry River rises at the base of Douce Mountain, is retained at Roundwood as the reservoir of the Dublin Water Supply, and eventually reaches the sea at the town of Wicklow. The Dargle River rises between War Hill and Tonduff, forms at Powerscourt the Waterfall so named, it flows through the Dargle, and enters the sea at Bray. The Glencree and Cookstown Rivers are tributaries of the Dargle. The River Liffey rises south of Kippure Mountain, 13 miles from Dublin and pursues a circuitous route, forming the boundary with Kildare for two miles before entering that county. The Slaney rises near Lugnaquilla, and three miles below Baltinglass flows into County Carlow.

The Lakes in the county are Lough Tay, Lough Dan, Lough Ouler and Lough Nahangan, the Upper and Lower Lakes at Glendalough and the Upper and Lower Loughs Bray beside Kippure.





Total Pop.

55,203 55,564 110,767

61,052 60,505 121,557

63,489 62,654 126,143

50,230 48,749 98,979

44,122 42,357 86,479

39,496 39,201 78,697

35,101 35,285 70,386

31,054 31,082 62,136

30,584 30,240 60,824

31,113 29,598 60,711

28,903 28,680 78,562

Families and Houses in 1926

The number of families in the county was 12,865, the average number in each family being 4.3. The number of inhabited houses was 12,731 showing an average of 4.5 persons to each house. The special inmates of public institutions are omitted from these calculations.

There were in the county 9,038 Occupiers or Heads of Families who were in occupation of less than five rooms, being 70.3% of the total for the county; of these, 544, or 4.2% of the families in the county occupied one room; 2,359, or 18.3% , 2 rooms; 2,981 or 23.1%, 3 rooms; and 3,154 or 24.5%, occupied 4 rooms.

There were in the county 228 tenements in which the room had only one occupant; 260 cases where the room had 2-4 occupants; 54 cases in which there were 5-7 occupants and 2 cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number, including 1 case where 9 persons occupied the same room.

Birthplace of Inhabitants

Of the population in 1926, 72.82% were born in the county, 23.23 % in other counties in Saorstat Eireann. 1.24% in Northern Ireland, 2.22% in Great Britain, and 0.49% were born abroad.


In 1911 there were in the county 50,133 persons aged 9 years and upwards; of these 44,9302 or 89.6% could read and write; 1,241 or 2.5% could read only; and 3,962 or 7.9% were illiterate. As this is the first census where the age was raised from 5 to 9 it is not possible to compare figures for earlier censuses. However, the report states that the percentage of those of 5 years and upwards who were unable to read and write was 16.7% in 1891, 13.3% in 1901 and had fallen to 11% in 1901.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
0 5 0 0 0 0

Irish & English
182 89 243 176 631 1,054
% of
0.2 0.1 0.3 0.3 1.0 1.7

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926 (% of population)

1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

Roman Catholic
80.6 79.9 79.3 79.05 79.06 82.71

Church of Ireland
17.7 18.3 18.7 18.66 18.39 15.04

0.9 1.0 1.0 1.01 1.0 0.85

0.4 0.4 0.7 0.83 0.92 0.72

0.4 0.4 0.3 0.45 0.63 0.68

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
11,173 5,387 4,591 6,242 1,691 1,779